A Letter?

Let’s be honest. In 2010 nobody receives a letter written by hand. Especially me. In fact, I received 3 letters written by hand all from one woman, from the same one: my mother.

3 letters in 6 years is a clear image of our bad relationship. I should say 2 letters because the second one I threw it away since the first one was to say being gay was disgusting that I should marry a man have kids, to have a man to protect me blah, blah, blah. That very first letter had a horrible impact and repercussion in my life. Just in the moment I was feeling the most vulnerable person on earth, after my break up, after living alone, totally alone, the moment I needed her the most she sent me that letter. I should have listened to my father when he told me not to tell her I was gay. She didn’t want to speak to me on the phone, she ignored me and I know she felt like a failure as a mother for not being able to make a woman of myself, I mean, if we consider the feminine gender. I wrote about that nasty letter…time ago, and I still have that bitter taste on my mouth when I remember it…the violence. With that letter, my mom took for a couple of minutes control of my life…again, controlling…telling what to do, the right thing, she had the absolute truth on her hands.

Yesterday, I received her third letter, after my day of car dealers and at the verge to buy a new car, confused by prices and by the burning sun over my clothes….just before going to ask my neighbour about this subject I had time to read that letter. I confess I was scared and I almost throw it away but this time, my curiosity was stronger than my fear.

The paper was a stripped sheet, blue lines on it, thin paper like an onion slice for salad, cracky sound when you unfold it, light like a feather, smooth on one side and rough on the other. Written were my mother’s words on blue, delicated, u shaped, those u’s  together are like m’s, they looked more than  waves drew on paper than words, like an electrocardiogram of a soul leaving its body. 

She started the message hoping I was fine and happy to know I have a job. She also said if death could find her know she could die in all tranquility knowing I got a security in life. She encouraged me to work hard and consoled me for difficulties I got now at work (my father probably talked to her about my abominable job at the Tribunal). She gave some tips to do at work and finally she wrote…”your mother that loves you”. How did I feel? More confused in an already confused day.

It surprised me what 3 years of silence and distance made on her. I just wanted to protect myself since the break-up, the problems, the temporary jobs, solitude and more things I don’t want to remember, those things that made me take the decision to be stay away from her….to avoid all contact by phone, I refused to speak to her in especial days, I was suffering in all senses I didn’t want to suffer more in the name of mother’s love which was toxic since my childhood.

I talked to one of my good friends on MSN about my mom’s letter. I translated all the letter from Spanish to French and my friend said: “your mom has made progress since your coming out, and for writing with all her emotions she surele has been suffering”. I remembered at my birthday she sent me a boy’s T-shirt. I was happy to received even if it wasn’t my size (well, I’m Small but small for men is like Large for me). It was her way to figure my gayness in a cliché way. If you’re lesbian means you want to be a man, so, for my mom, a man’s T-shirt was something to make feel happy or to make her get closer to me, a kind of hidden connection, the forbidden one, because girls cannot wear man’s gear…that was her philosophy.

Today, another friend of mine on Skype introduced me her mother. An elder woman with Alzheimer…I didn’t see my mom’s friend. I saw a fragile woman, short white curly hair, sweet and forgetful (she asked me twice in 2 different moments how many years I was in Canada), I saw a fearful and vulnerable mom, I saw fear in her eyes time to time….I saw her daughter taking care of her, like a mother takes care of her first and only one child. The inverted roles. I felt tenderness in my friend’s voice, I saw my friend playing the caring mom over her own mom. I saw the madame smiling, looking at my cat through the webcam, asking simple questions…I shared an intimate moment of my friend’s life…I stole her mom for minutes and it was inevitable to think of my own mother and it was unbearable. I was very pleased and happy to see and share that moment.

I understand better why my friend wants to take care and not leave her alone, her only family is losing what she wants to preserve the most: the memory, the past, the good and bad times….all that she wants to recover or keep or preserve. Now I understand better the suffering of seeing those things vanishing in slow motion or degradation, the conflicts that can be struggling inside of both of them.

Contrary to me, I dealt with her schizophrenia since childhood, and all I want is to forget in a pathological way to continue, not looking back anymore. But that letter brought all what I didn’t want…the contradiction of love and pain, love and its opposites, love and hate. I’m not a monster, I did what I did because otherwise I wouldn’t be here. I’m surprised, it’s a miracle I even made it this far. Death knocked at my door in those dark days…

Of course this letter needs to be replied. Her birthday will be in 2 weeks. What to say? From the bottom of my heart the phrase I love you is not there I don’t feel it yet. It can be sound horrible for you but is just an example how relationships born to be beautiful can be twisted for several reasons or circunstances…the only thing I can tell her now is “don’t hurt me anymore”.

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3 thoughts on “A Letter?

  1. After 3 years of silence, your Mom is probably looking for your acknowledgement, i.e. a sign that you have perhaps forgiven her for her mistakes, and that you still care enough for her to want to maintain communication. What to write, indeed. Impossible to write ‘I love you’ for sure, yet impossible to write ‘I don’t love you’ too. Considering that you had lapsed into silence, I imagine a simple Happy Birthday will make her very, very happy.

  2. Thank you for your thoughts about Alzheimer’s. I’ve grown so tired of explaining why I do what I do. It is a relief when someone gets it, such a relief.

  3. Thank you Feline, I forgot to write that a shy tear drop was trying to leave when I saw your mom on webcam, also I guess that impression she left on me motivated me to write and dare my fears for mom…I know what to say is just my heart feels empty at this moment…I guess compassion is a good start.
    You are a good daugther, better than me.

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